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Aug. 5, 2015

MSU’s first undergraduate entrepreneurship director to create innovative culture

Michigan State University has named a point person to continue developing a campuswide culture of entrepreneurship and innovation among its undergraduate students.

Neil Kane is the university’s first director of undergraduate entrepreneurship. An experienced entrepreneur, business executive and Forbes contributor, Kane will create a unified entrepreneurship strategy and introduce new programs, courses and initiatives focused on entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The long-term goal is to create a culture of entrepreneurship at MSU,” Kane said.

Kane, who has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the University of Chicago, has held entrepreneurship positions at Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northern Illinois University.

Trained in sales and business development at IBM and Microsoft early in his career, Kane was the founding CEO of several venture capital-backed companies in fields as diverse as consumer products, energy storage and nanomaterials.

He was named a “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum, was recognized for outstanding entrepreneurship by the National Science Foundation and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Research and Science Education on topics related to technology transfer and commercialization.

Kane will work closely with MSU’s colleges as well as existing entrepreneurship efforts across campus. Those include the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which teaches students about entrepreneurship; the Hive and the Hatch, both student idea incubators; and Spartan Innovations, which turns MSU research technologies into businesses.

A new website,, will become a one-stop source for all things entrepreneurial at MSU.

“We have in place a variety of opportunities intended to support the development of undergraduates and entrepreneurship, and our expectation is that Neil will bring the additional energy and innovation to our programs that will set our MSU students apart,” said MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt.

Kane said entrepreneurship programs can benefit students on just about any career path – not just those who want to start companies.

“In today’s economy, everyone is an entrepreneur,” he said. “Not just people who form new businesses, but doctors, attorneys, musicians, journalists and even people who take positions inside established companies need the skills that come from an immersion in entrepreneurship.”

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